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Optical/IP

Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside

On the heels of his company's first product launch, founder John Yu has stepped down as chief technology officer of Hammerhead Systems Inc., marking the second time a senior technical member has left his post at the edge-switch startup.

Just three weeks ago, Hammerhead debuted its HSX 6000, which targets the multiservice edge space. The 1/4-rack, 120-Gbit/s box focuses on Layer 2 traffic rather than the Layer 3 approach pursued by competitors like Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT). (See Hammerhead Strikes at the Edge.)

Yu is not completely ditching the startup, according to Hammerhead officials. A Hammerhead spokeswoman confirms Yu has left the CTO position but notes that he is "still affiliated with the company," working on projects to establish Hammerhead's presence in Asia. Hammerhead has no plans to seek a replacement, she says.

Yu's departure follows that of Jan Medved, the company's chief architect. One source says Medved left quietly some months ago, his departure noted only because of his sudden absence at standards meetings.

Hammerhead isn't giving reasons for Medved's departure or Yu's "change in focus," although the spokeswoman noted Yu wants to spend more time with his family.

She adds that this doesn't leave Hammerhead's technology rudderless, as vice president of engineering Kim Holmes had been the company's technical lead even before the departures. He joined in 2002, shortly after Medved's arrival (see Hammerhead Systems Inc.).

Nonetheless, the personnel shuffling might be disconcerting to some, as Hammerhead is only now hitting the marketplace. The HSX 6000 is one of several targeting carriers' migration to core networks based on Internet Protocol (IP) and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). The idea is to take in Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Ethernet, and Frame Relay traffic at the edge, merging the different traffic types for transport across a single network core.

Hammerhead's big task is to get an OEM partner lined up. Other competitive startups have established reseller agreements with bigger names, a way to help latch onto big carrier accounts. For example, Laurel Networks Inc. has an agreement with Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN); and WaveSmith Networks got flat-out acquired by Ciena. TiMetra Networks and Vivace Networks got snatched up by Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), respectively.

At the same time, the big vendors are trying to muscle into the space. Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) aims the M320 here, and Nortel recently introduced its MPE 9000 family for the multiservice edge. Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), like Hammerhead, is aiming for a Layer 2 approach with its upcoming CBX 3500. And Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) continues to say its 7600, 10000, and 12000 router lines can compete in this space as well. (See Juniper Hatches the M320, Nortel's Neptune Surfaces, and Lucent's WaveSmith Killer.)

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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OpticOm 12/5/2012 | 1:39:06 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside As one who has some insight into the HH's early days, I am not surprised at all.
The signs were not good at all even in 2002 days.
DataDudette 12/5/2012 | 1:39:05 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside You have no insight - everything I hear is positive and I know some of these guys. Go back to your cave - we're talking data, not optics.
ATMRules 12/5/2012 | 1:39:04 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside Hammer who? You can't touch this!!!....please another startup in multiservice edge??? These people left for a reason.....everything I hear is that they are trying to flip this thing as quickly as possible...let's see where they are 1 year from now.....

ATMRules.....
Sakarabu 12/5/2012 | 1:39:00 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside Mr. Negative, as usual. Is that because of the recent investment direction for ATM? Do you know the people? Do you know if they left or were cast aside? Do you know that they are trying to flip this thing? No. Just a negative individual about virtually every effort in the sector. Sounds like one of the negative posters in marketing at Wavesmith. When will y'all grow up? It may be stunning to the braindead here, but employees probably left like Tenet left. There is also little indication of an effort to flip. Has there been hype surrounding the product effort? Seems like honest product marketing based on what honest internet searching shows up. an honest reader might also expect that the reasoning for this article at all is that LR has not received a recent collection payment. Without that weekly stipend, LR will turn like a rabid dog. Worthless diatribes, though entertaining.

who knows where this thing will be in a year. perhaps the honest, hard work of those involved will produce.
light-headed 12/5/2012 | 1:38:58 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside Sakarabu,

They better be trying to flip this because it is not possible to sell to a carrier if you are a startup. They do not have the resources or the staying power. OEM/reseller will not help either. They have to be acquired to make it. Just ask Procket or Laurel how it is going.


===============================================
Mr. Negative, as usual. Is that because of the recent investment direction for ATM? Do you know the people? Do you know if they left or were cast aside? Do you know that they are trying to flip this thing? No. Just a negative individual about virtually every effort in the sector. Sounds like one of the negative posters in marketing at Wavesmith. When will y'all grow up? It may be stunning to the braindead here, but employees probably left like Tenet left. There is also little indication of an effort to flip. Has there been hype surrounding the product effort? Seems like honest product marketing based on what honest internet searching shows up. an honest reader might also expect that the reasoning for this article at all is that LR has not received a recent collection payment. Without that weekly stipend, LR will turn like a rabid dog. Worthless diatribes, though entertaining.

who knows where this thing will be in a year. perhaps the honest, hard work of those involved will produce.
Belzebutt 12/5/2012 | 1:38:58 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside That's "MPE 9000" not "MSE 9000".
Truelight1 12/5/2012 | 1:38:57 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside VC and all

If you look at the people who started it and their real experience this would not be a suprise ! Your a village idiot if you think otherwise

BTW look at the posts on the original Hammerhead board.
firstmile 12/5/2012 | 1:38:57 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside Light-headed...
Really profound stand that you are taking there betting against a startup selling to Telco Carriers in 2004. Please go back to Alcatel's US headquarters where you can make a career out of positions like this. Let me guess...you are also betting $5 (4 Euros) on Smarty Jones to Win, Place, or Show this weekend.
...First
Sakarabu 12/5/2012 | 1:38:56 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside VC's with no experience? You sure?
Sakarabu 12/5/2012 | 1:38:56 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside there is no point in flipping a company for the sake of flipping it. A business case for acquisition needs to be built first. It is too early to tell what the outcome will be.
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